A 55-year-old woman who is a Lolita dress lover has found fame after she helped adjust shoes for disabled people with legs of different lengths so that they could walk “in an equal way”.
So far Xie Chuanqin, a Shanghai resident, has altered nearly 3,000 pairs of shoes, with her customers living as far as Russia, Thepaper reported.
Xie said she has bought about 30 Lolita dresses ever since she fell in love with the style in 2008. Lolita fashion is a subculture from Japan that is influenced by Victorian clothing and styles from the Rococo period.
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Frequently dressed in her Lolita outfit when she goes out, Xie said she often felt people stare at her on the street.
“They may think I am weird for wearing this at my age,” Xie was quoted as saying. “But it didn’t bother me at all. I am happy and that’s it.”
Her family supports her, with her son telling her to choose any clothes she likes.
Xie has transitioned her hobby into a career after opening an online shop selling Lolita platform shoes a decade ago.
She started to line up shoes for disabled people about eight years ago after a man, who broke a leg in a road accident and ended up with one limb longer than the other, came to her home seeking help.
Xie found he used cardboard pieces and a section of tyre to make one of his shoes’ heels 5cm higher.
“I adjusted his shoes immediately on the spot,” said Xie. “When the customer wore the new shoes, he was so thankful that he wept. He also suggested that I open a shoe adjusting service for customers like him.”
After providing the tailor-made service for many disabled people who sent Xie their original shoes and told her the height they wanted, she said her work has become more meaningful.
“Walking on the changed shoes, they would think the world seems to be fair for them again,” said Xie. “But I do hope this kind of demand is fading, meaning the number of disabled people is decreasing.”
This service is not profitable for Xie as she charges only 10 to 20 yuan (US$1.50 to US$3.10) for each pair of shoes and does not mark up materials used in the process. Sometimes customers would send the shoes back again for further adjustment, which she does for free.
She said she is at a “semi-retirement” stage, but wants to teach apprentices so that they can carry on the service for disabled customers after she quits.
“A person like Aunt Xie will be forever young as long as she has fairy tales in her heart, and will be forever happy as long as there is kindness in her heart,” wrote one person on Weibo.
“What a brave and lovely aunt she is!” another user said.
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